Fighting poverty with entrepreneurship

To successfully combat poverty, we have to view it differently. Hand in Hand sees the enormous potential of  grassroots entrepreneurs in alleviating poverty in their communities. Our unique way to success is to combine group savings, skills training, micro finance and market linkage. Our tried and tested model is efficient and cost-effective and we know it is a sustainable way out of poverty.

How it all started

Entrepreneurship wasn’t always our focus. In the beginning, our primary goal was to get children out of hazardous work and into schools. But it soon became clear that in order to succeed, we’d have to attack child labour at its root: poverty. And for people living in extreme poverty, a decent job and a sustainable income is a fundamental  step towards a more prosperous, safer and healthier future.

As one of our founders, Percy Barnevik, puts it: “Our model, help to self-help, puts people’s destinies in their own hands. You train them, you coach them, but they decide for themselves about the future”.

Today, Hand in Hand is active in Afghanistan, Cambodia, India, Kenya, Namibia, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe, with fundraising and programme support in Sweden and the United Kingdom. Together, we nurture the creation of more than 1,000 jobs a day, seven days a week. That’s more than 350,000 jobs a year.

  • Jobs help break the cycle of poverty. We help entrepreneurs create their own success.
  • When women, who make up more than 90% of Hand in Hand’s entrepreneurs, are better educated and make up a greater part of the labour force, a country’s GDP is substantially improved.
  • An average of five family members benefit from every job we help our entrepreneurs That’s more children in school, and more parents with the ability to put healthy food on the table and seek healthcare in time.

Focusing on women and youth

Women’s economic empowerment. The women we work with face many challenges – poverty, lack of education, gender discrimination – but by the time they graduate from Hand in Hand’s support,  they are stronger and more confident. When they start to earn money they improve their position and influence in the family and in society. Supporting women to come together also gives them a stronger voice and better chance of claiming their rights.

Empowering youth. In countries where youth unemployment is growing at alarming rates,  and where the consequences of climate change are acutely felt on a daily basis, the aim of Hand in Hand’s work is simple: To raise the status of self-employment among young people and unlock the path to success through sustainable and resilient entrepreneurship.

Our unique model for job creation – Help to self-help

  1. Social mobilisation. First we create Self-Help Groups, typically made up of women, who support each other, save together and learn together. The 15-20 members contribute to the group’s saving on a weekly basis.
  2. Business training. Once a Self-Help Group is established, and with its savings fund firmly in place, we train the members to start and develop small enterprises, using modules in basic bookkeeping, business development, marketing and more. Learning about human rights is integrated in the modules.
  3. Access to credit. Group savings help finance most new enterprises. But when members need more capital than they can borrow internally, we train them in credit management and provide access to microloans, funded by Hand in Hand  or a credible Micro Finance Institute. The average repayment rate across Hand in Hand’s programmes is above 99 percent.
  4. Linking entrepreneurs to markets. Finally, we help established entrepreneurs to compete – and thrive – by finding larger markets, sourcing cheaper supplies and improving their branding, packaging, quality and value addition. Scaling up helps entrepreneurs create more job opportunities and directly benefits their communities.

About Hand in Hand Sweden

Hand in Hand is a results-driven organisation. We track key performance indicators across the Hand in Hand network every month to measure our impact. Globally, we have supported 2.67 million people to join and run Self-Help Groups, facilitated the start-up of 2.63 million enterprises, and been instrumental in the creation of more than four million jobs.

In 2018, Hand in Hand Sweden’s fundraising reached a record-breaking 78 million Swedish Krona, of which  only 11% went to administration costs.

How can you support?

There are many ways to fight poverty together with us! You can make a donation here and now – or choose to support our work in the longer term by becoming a monthly donor. If your company wants a lasting CSR collaboration that has a positive impact – please contact us for further discussion.

Together we can do more!

+46-(0)8 517 00 890